I've always wanted to write one of these knee-jerk, gut-reaction, post-draft style articles. They are clearly just for fun because there is no way in holy heck that a draft can be judged on the same night. No way. You need a good three years, to be frank.
That said, since I was the guy tracking our upcoming opponents all offseason, I figured I would pull a Prestige and bite the bullet: here are my winner and losers of the first round.
PS Before I get started, these are all pretty much gut reactions. As such, I would love it if in the comments people just rip me to shreds. Tell me why I'm wrong - or, if I'm not necessarily wrong, tell me of some other winners and losers that I left out. This is also helpful because, as you will see, I am going to mainly focus on teams which we play next year.
Follow me after the jump for some super, awesome, totally right, and utterly infallible football analysis.
First off, we cannot ignore the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins. These teams had their two guys all along, and when the two best players available just happen to line up with your most pressing needs, it's just obvious that you take ‘em. Kudos to both teams.
One team that we play this year is the New England Patriots. I think their draft was quite good. They had two first round selections with which to work, and they displayed their normal predilection for trading with gusto. Moving to the 21st pick, the Patriots picked up Chandler Jones, the DE from Syracuse. This may not have been the best player available at the time, but for a late first round pick, he sure is close. Perhaps more importantly, the kid fills a huge need for the pass-rush depleted Patriots. This also helps shore up the pass defense, a big problem for the AFC Champs. To shore up their running defense, the Pats moved to pick number 25 for Don'ta Hightower, the ILB from Alabama. Based on the mock drafts I have seen, this is excellent value for this late in the round.
Another team who was willing to move around to get the guys they wanted is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs picked Mark Barron, the S from Alabama, with their seventh pick. He is hands down the best safety in the draft, and arguably not that far behind CB Morris Claiborne for best secondary player. The move I really like, though, is jumping back into the first round so that they could take RB Doug Martin from Boise State with the 31st pick. Tampa did not have trouble running the ball last year, but you've got to believe that they really like what they see in Martin if they are willing to jump back into the first round.
And my last winner is the Minnesota Vikings. It seems pretty obvious that they wanted OT Matt Kalil from USC, like, since forever. Anytime you can trade back one spot, pick up a first-, fourth, fifth-, and seventh round pick, and still get the player you want, well, you just have to consider that a good night. Kalil is one of those guys who is clearly a BPA and need based pick. When those two line up, then the draft is a good one. The extra draft picks allowed the Vikings to jump back into the first round and pick Harrison Smith, the S from Notre Dame. Again, the Vikings did a great job of picking a player worthy of the slot while also filling a glaring weakness.
But alas, every draft must have a few losers. On the whole, I thought this was a harder category to choose three teams from, but here they are, starting with the Cleveland Browns. Now this might be a little harsh, considering they got their guy in RB Trent Richardson from Alabama. That said, they had to give up a lot just to move one spot to get him. Now, if they were about to get poached with another trade or something, then this was probably a good move. Get your guy at all costs, if he is the guy. But, well, let's just say I'm not a huge fan of RBs this high in the first round anyway. What really kills their day one for me, however, is the moving up to pick 22 for QB Brandon Weeden from Oklahoma State. Mr. Weeden may have pretty nice upside, even for his age, but this pick is clearly a reach. I also think he will have some problems to work out, but won't have the opportunity because of the poor QB situation the Browns are already in.
Oh, and how happy this one makes me! The Seattle Seahawks. Total reach. Big time. Maybe I'm harsh because they are a division rival, but I don't care. The 15th pick, OLB Bruce Irvin from West Virginia, has great pass rush skills. That said, they are all predicated on his speed, not size, so he may get pushed around in the NFL quite a bit. Moreover, this mainly one-dimensional player would likely have been around in the second round. Also, this is not a need. The Seahawks defense was pretty good last year.
This is perhaps not a clear-cut loser, but I am not a huge fan of the Miami Dolphins' draft. Again, this comes down entirely upon your opinion of QB Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M. I think the guy can be a successful QB in the NFL. I also think that the Dolphins may be a good fit (it really depends on how they rebuild). I guess I dislike this post more from the standpoint that I am not a huge fan of how artificially inflated QBs become in the draft. Most people seem to think that Tannehill is not a top-ten talent. The eight pick seems a bit high to me.
All in all, what with trades and not, this was a very fun draft. What do you guys think?